There were no new COVID-19 cases reported in Grey-Bruce Wednesday, according to the health unit’s daily situation report.
One case has recovered, leaving three known active cases in the region.
There have been 133 people to date who have been infected with the virus locally, and five people who were referred to other health units.
None of the active cases are at local hospitals, and no deaths have been attributed to the disease in Grey-Bruce.
No long-term care facilities, schools or daycares are currently under a declared COVID-19 outbreak, according to the health unit.
Grey County declared in a media release Wednesday that Lee Manor in Owen Sound was experiencing a respiratory outbreak on 3rd Floor South. Testing is underway, and so far there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
However, 3rd Floor South residents are being isolated while outbreak protocols are put in place. Only essential visitors will be permitted to physical meetings with 3rd Floor South residents at this time.
Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce’s medical officer of health, said the outbreak was declared because three or more residents are dealing with respiratory illness symptoms.
“There are multiple individuals,” Arra said. “We don’t have a diagnosis, whether its flu, common cold or COVID.”
Health units across Ontario reported 335 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, lower than the 400-plus cases that had been reported in the province four of the last five days.
However, the Ministry of Education reported 180 COVID-19 cases in 153 schools – a jump from Tuesday’s numbers of 141 cases is 116 schools.
COVID-19 testing in pharmacies will begin at 60 locations Friday, by appointment only for those not experiencing any symptoms. Testing is expected to roll out at more pharmacy locations in the coming weeks.
Nearly all of the 60 locations that will offer COVID-19 testing Friday are located in the GTA and Ottawa.
The private-sector testing is the second part of the provincial government’s fall pandemic preparedness plan. The first part, announced Tuesday, is a $70 million flu shot campaign.
The provincial government has ordered 5.1 million doses of the flu shot and is encouraging all residents to immunize themselves against the flu this year to reduce the number of hospital visits related to the illness.
The flu causes over 12,000 hospitalizations and nearly 3,500 deaths in Canada each year according to national statistics.
Arra said the flu shot will be available widely in Grey-Bruce this year, as it has been in past years. He said the illness can put pressure on the health system when long-term care patients who have recovered are unable to return to their homes and must stay in hospital care.
“If somebody at long-term care gets the flu and they’re admitted to the hospital, or they’re in the hospital and they have the flu, they can not be admitted to long-term care,” Arra said. “If there is an outbreak at long-term care, nobody will be discharged from the hospital into that home . . . so from that point of view there’s always pressure on the capacity at hospitals.”
Arra also said anyone with flu symptoms this year will present with symptoms similar to those of COVID-19, and therefore will need to have the pandemic virus ruled out by test, further increasing system strain and highlighting the importance of getting immunized this fall.
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The hours of operation for the COVID-19 assessment centre in Kincardine have been expanded.
The testing centre will now operate Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cars will not be allowed to line-up for the drive-through assessment centre any earlier than 10 minutes before opening.
“Since the return to school, volumes at the Kincardine Assessment Centre have increased dramatically. Daily averages have spiked from 50-75 at the end of August to 130-170 last week, and 300-350 this week, causing long lines of cars waiting to access the hospital and traffic congestion on Queen Street,” a media release distributed Wednesday morning said.
A system for booking appointments for the Kincardine Assessment Centre is in development and is expected to be implemented next week.
COVID-19 Assessment Centres in Owen Sound and Hanover have recently made the switch to pre-booked appointments as they too deal with increased patient volumes.
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The Fall Colours Classic Car Tour scheduled for Sunday afternoon has been cancelled by organizers as a result of the Ontario government’s new gathering restrictions, according to a media release.
More than 400 classic cars from across southern Ontario were set to tour around Keppel Township.
“Since the premier made his announcement on Sunday about people gathering, and the unfortunate events that happened in Hamilton this past weekend, the organizers from the Sauble Beach Sunset Cruisers felt there was no way forward logistically. Conversations with local officials in Grey and Bruce Counties shared the same panicked tone regarding the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases,” the media release said.
The annual fundraising event is held in support of the Grey Bruce Crime Stoppers.
“We have worked hard with organizations, public officials and local merchants to put our best foot forward for folks to enjoy the natural beauty of northern Grey County. Our plans of two months have been dashed within four days of the event. Unfortunately, as has been said before, COVID-19 has been a cruel master of our lives and this event is just another casualty,” said event organizer Morley Lymburner in a release.